Tornado Warning

by Cindy Veach

When I think about it now I am fearless
but sometimes I still hear

the hum of our minivan coming back from Iowa City—
that two-lane highway with too many white crosses—
troopers flagging us down, ordering us to lie

belly down in the ditch. Iowa sky. Imperial sky.
Every spiny tendril that drops from a dark cloud
reminds me of the bed fear made. Silence meant trouble,

a brewing. I prayed for thunder. I welcomed the cackle
of lightening, rages, yelling matches—

but a sudden drop in pressure, the sucking out
of sound. I got good at seeing it coming—

sky purpling, moving over our house,
our house slanting into shadow.

I went down to the cellar to weather
each storm. Tornados are cruel.
Of course, I had to leave him.

CINDY VEACH is the author of Her Kind (CavanKerry Press, forthcoming 2021), Gloved Against Blood (CavanKerry Press), named a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and a ‘Must Read’ by The Massachusetts Center for the Book, and the chapbook, Innocents (Nixes Mate). Her poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day SeriesAGNI, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Michigan Quarterly Review and elsewhereShe is the recipient of the Phillip Booth Poetry Prize and the Samuel Allen Washington Prize. Cindy is co-poetry editor of Mom Egg

Photo: “Tornado Warning” by Rachel Gardner

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